Spraying vs. Brush & Roll
Why is just spraying is not enough?
Nowadays, everybody’s in a hurry. They want to get it done easy and they want it done now, or yesterday. If you plan to paint the home yourself, you might be struggling with the decision to spray or to brush & roll. Your Grandpa would tell you to brush & roll it and quit being a sissy, but hey, you could get it done in half the time if you spray, right? When it comes to painting, (as with many aspects of home improvement), sometimes there’s just no substitute for hard work.
It’s easier and more convenient than ever to rent or even buy a paint sprayer to paint your home, which has made some folks choice to spray seem like their best option. While airless paint sprayers can make a painting job seem less intimidating, in the hands of an untrained professional, an airless gun can cause more problems than they solve. I’ve seen countless amateurs and DIY’ers spraying their homes with just enough knowledge and ability to be dangerous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a DIY’er and I realize it’s not always realistic to hire someone to paint your house, but there are things you need to know about using a sprayer before you paint.
1. Using a sprayer puts out a lot of over-spray; especially if you aren’t skilled with a sprayer. Amateurs seem to focus their attention on the fact that they don’t want runs in the paint, so they start & stop way off the painting surface, which might help with minimizing runs, but it compounds the issue of over-spray travelling up on your roof, a neighboring home, a vehicle, etc. It’s a common misconception that once the over-spray floats away, it’s just dust, but I’ve seen people ruin their $30,000 roof to save $3,000 by not hiring a pro. I’ve even seen a pro have to pay for 7 vehicles to be professional washed, cut & buffed to remove his over-spray, in addition to having to paint 2 sides of the neighbors house which was riddled with over-spray, (which actually carried more than 200′). So, controlling the over-spray is one factor to consider. Yes, applying the paint will absolutely be much faster if you spray, but make sure and factor in the time it will take to mask & protect everything thoroughly. This is the biggest mistake folks make. They’re so anxious to start spraying, they haven’t yet done the proper preparation.
2. If you only spray the paint, you might not be doing enough, especially if you are a novice. Trying to get a uniform sprayed finish takes practice. There are angles and overlaps to consider, there are spray tip sizes, paint sprayer pressure settings, filter sizes, and the viscosity of the product your spraying. All of these factors will affect your sprayed finish. If you expect your finish to look professional, you should consider back-brushing and/or back-rolling the paint as you spray. While spraying the house in small sections at a time, use a brush for the horizontal siding a roller for the vertical. I’ve been spraying for 26 years and I still do this more times than not. It will push the paint deep into the pores of the surface, which means better protection. It also insures a quality finish that is uniform. Homes that have been sprayed & back-brushed/rolled are much easier to touch-up in the future also, since you don’t have the issue of touching-up with a brush or roller over a previously surface which was only sprayed.
The best advice I could give someone who asked me if they should brush & roll versus spray would be to stick with the brush & roll unless you’re willing and able to do a lot more prep. If all of the extra masking & protecting of surfaces doesn’t intimidate you and you really want to spray, fine, but you should still back-brush and/or back-roll while you spray. The difference is unbelievable, especially on homes which require an extensive amount of scraping and sanding. This is the method I’ve used for many years. I get the efficiency of the sprayer and the customer gets the quality of a hand-painted house; the best of both worlds. It’s a lot of work, but if you do it right, you won’t have to worry about it again for a long time, and I have hundreds of references from past customers who would agree.